It was just another day, another Washington, D.C. press conference and yet another appeal for the U.S. government to allow believers to follow the doctrines of their faith, as opposed to a Health and Human Services mandate.
"The United States, at its best, is unique among the nations of the world when it defends the self-evident freedom of all people to exercise their faith according to the dictates of their consciences," said the "Standing Together for Religious Freedom" text. It was signed by 58 faith leaders, mostly from conservative bodies such as the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Many of the signatories on this letter do not hold doctrinal objections to the use of contraception. Yet we stand united in protest to this mandate, recognizing the encroachment on the conscience of our fellow citizens. ... HHS continues to deny many Americans the freedom to manifest their beliefs through practice and observance in their daily lives."
This was just another sign of the times, along with a Texas filibuster opposing a late-term abortion ban and the U.S. Supreme Court's approval for a state-by-state legal approach to same-sex marriage.
None of this would have surprised the Blessed Pope John Paul II, according to one of America's most controversial Catholic priests. In one of his most sweeping encyclicals, John Paul foresaw a "conspiracy against life" that would threaten the suffering, the elderly and children, born and unborn.
That 1995 document was called "Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)," and the Rev. C.J. McCloskey of the Faith and Reason Institute was recently asked to write a meditation on it during a Vatican celebration of its lasting influence.